Glass sculptor Rose ready to return to the Park City Kimball Arts Festival
Florida artist enjoys her time in the mountains
Glass sculptor Marlene Rose loves participating in the Park City Kimball Arts Festival.
The artist, whose first name is pronounced Marleen-eh, has made the trek from her home studio in Clearwater, Florida, to Park City for the past eight or nine years.
“There are many things that I like about the festival, but I have to say it brings up art appreciators and collectors — people who love art and want to live with it — from around the world,” Rose said during a telephone interview with The Park Record. “I love coming back to Park City, because I see clients who have become my friends, and I get to meet wonderful people in a beautiful part of the world.”
Rose fashions representational glass works, from Buddah heads to butterflies. She also likes to create abstract works.
“I enjoy breaking things down into their most simplistic forms, and that’s why I like doing abstracts,” she said.
Rose sees her abstracts as a part of the whole artistic experience she has with the people who see the works.
“My hope is for the viewer to contribute to the work,” she said. “I can show a piece that I made, but then the viewer comes in with their own life experiences and memories and puts that into what they see. It’s like starting a dialogue.”
Rose, who has been creating art since she was a child, discovered glass sculpture in college.
“It’s funny, but I was getting a bachelor of fine arts in college, and I avoided the glass department because it intimidated me,” she said with a laugh. “One reason was because it was a male-dominated discipline. It involved working with molten material and it was physically challenging.”
Rose also wasn’t attracted to the type of art being created by other glass sculptors.
“There weren’t a lot of people doing anything exciting back in the 1980s,” she said. “Glass was just a material to make vessels, like bowls and cups, although in the 1960s people began to experiment.”
After taking all the art classes she wanted, Rose decided to bite the bullet and take a glass class.
“The professor started by saying he was going to teach us how to blow glass to get that out of the way, but that he really wanted to teach us that glass was a material that could be used to communicate an idea,” Rose said. “That’s when I realized that he was talking my language.”
Rose learned many techniques, but one — sand casting — clicked with her personality.
“It’s the technique I work with today,” she said. “I basically pour molten glass into sand molds.”
The technique was new in the 1980s, although sand molding had been done for centuries with metal.
“The guy who developed glass sand molding taught my professor, and then my professor taught it to us,” Rose said.
The technique was so new that it took Rose a few years after graduation to develop her own creations.
“I would go to a glass facility and no one knew what I was talking about,” she said. “Plus, at that time, I was a woman in my early 20s, and no one would listen to me, because they didn’t know who I was.”
Eventually, through determination, Rose began making a name for herself through her eye-catching works.
“Glass is so different looking, and that gives me an advantage with attracting people,” she said. “On the other hand, it is a very expensive discipline. Not only do I have to pay for materials, I have to pay a crew who will work with me.”
Those challenges, however, are nothing compared to the rewards of creating glass art for a living.
“First of all, I feel so incredibly lucky to be an artist,” Rose said. “There is joy in every aspect of it. I can make something from nothing. I use sand and glass to make art, and that blows me away.”
Rose also finds rewards come in different aspects of her work.
“I put my creation out there and sit back and hear what people think,” she said “The next level comes when someone takes their hard-earned money and decide they want something I created in their lives and purchase one of my pieces.”
These days Rose is working on a new series.
“I’m making glass hands,” she said. “How cool is it that I can just make a hand, you know? I come up with ideas that are different than anything I have done and just make it.”
The 48th Park City Kimball Arts Festival, sponsored by Zions Bank, will run Friday, Aug. 4, to Sunday, Aug. 6, on historic Main Street. Friday’s hours are from 5-9 p.m., and Park City and Summit County residents will be admitted for free. Saturday’s hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday’s hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adult weekend passes are $12. Passes for children ages 6 to 17 are $6. Children ages 5 and younger will be admitted for free. For information, visit http://www.parkcitykimballartsfestival.org.
Summit County gardeners can purchase local-climate friendly plants and seeds to grow this season